We asked 400 city and traffic experts which trends they thought will be the most powerful for future cities and transportation. From these trends we constructed three scenarios – Free City, Techno City, Eco City. These were illustraded as “postcards from the future” for Stockholm’s inner city, inner and outer suburbia. Three sites were selected for each of the urban environments and photographed (below).
These photos were then re-illustrated in Photoshop according to the scenario descriptions.
Free City 2050
In this future the economy recovered from that early recession – but at the cost of citizen trust in the government. Investors and business people grew protective of their assets, and everyone scrambled to create wealth. Only a few were successful. Stockholm’s hedonist class focus their investments and lifestyles on an ever-denser inner city. The historical centre is a luxury playground, as are exclusive new condominiums. The gated mansions of the inner suburbs sprawl into the outer suburbs, which in turn encroach on the countryside. Streetscapes are a mosaic of brand logos, and in the streets themselves glossy luxury cars jostle with the ageing vehicles of the downsliding middle class. Public transport? Business tax shelters have lowered government revenues, and the government can barely maintain the old system, much less extend it.
Techno City 2050
The global digital transformation revitalised the world economy – and decentralised it. Starting with one good idea, entrepreneurs can now create products and services overnight. Everyone’s a small business owner, and everyone’s more prosperous. Government uses smart technologies to control infrastructure and governmental services. This means new integrity issues. Density is distributed: every neighbourhood has its own ‘central business district’ but there is still a dense “downtown”. Terabit per second wifi and embedded, wearable ICT immerse people in streaming media, beamed to their retinas, flowing across building surfaces, and lighting up the streets and sidewalks as they pass by. Self-driving transport pods for individuals or groups come when called and act as modular mass transit. With transport on demand, fewer personal cars clog the roads and suburbs. The environmental impact is high. New technologies like drones and pods create new problems such as noise, security issues and traffic fatalities.
Eco City 2050
Climate change created lots of damage to world economies. Energy production peaked and retrofitting transport infrastructure to use low-density energy sources is now big business. Social values stress ecosystem stewardship and disdain consumerism, and a strong state that controls nature and culture values. With society refocussed towards self-reliance, the outer suburbs and countryside are popular for people who want to grow their own food: intensive yard gardeners compete in neighbourhood food fairs. Outer suburban sprawl declines due to higher transport costs. City parks also see public food gardens, and apartment dwellers convert balconies to small greenhouses. Strong environmental regulations ban cars from most city streets. Walking, biking, and small electric run-abouts are common for short distances, and automated low-carbon public transport links neighbourhoods, communities, and more compact city centres.
March 12 2015 these “postcards from the future” were published on four pages in Sweden’s biggest dialy newspaper Dagens Nyheter and on the newspaper’s website for a public poll. http://www.dn.se/sthlm/vykort-fran-framtidens-stad/ Readers were here able to vote on the three scenarios, which one they liked the most.
The results of the poll was April 4, 2015, in total 3356 votes. For each scenario the voting was as follows.
FREE CITY: 414 votes
TECHNO CITY: 1491 votes
ECO CITY: 1451 votes
The scenarios and the result of this poll will be discussed at the final conference CITYMOVES May 29 in Stockholm. More info at www.citymoves.se